Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Destiny In The Printed Page
Confronted with a a delay such as the type that occurs while waiting for a bus or a train, some people will sit and stare into space, or fidget, or yawn and gaze at their watch as if more than a few seconds have passed since the last glance. But Sue would always relish a good delay, because it gave her time to dive deeper into whatever book she happened to be reading that day.
The ability to concentrate in environments where noise and clatter reign is not built into everyone, but it can be developed, most often by reading, and sometimes by meditating. Sue, an only child, had been around books all her life growing up in Thailand, and she had no problem staying focused on the plot. Now a teenager, Sue had developed into a voracious reader, and unlike some other teenagers, the reading materials she tackled weren't limited to comic books.
Sue's pictured here reading a Thai translation of Les Jeux Sont Faits, Jean-Paul Sartre's existential masterpiece which tells the story of a pair of a man and woman who are killed by people close to them, and discover in the afterlife that they were pre-destined to be soul mates. They are brought back to life and given 24 hours to fall in love, but they end up spending that time trying to right the wrongs of their previous lives, and in the end, they die again, without even hooking up.
Sartre's main theme in all of his books is that destiny wins out over everything else in life, and that we're all bound by the choices we make. As Sue glanced up from her book at the people rushing by at the bus station, lost in their own little worlds, she felt a rush of happiness that her destiny lay in the printed page.